My favorite holiday tradition is, of course, opening my presents. After that would come admiring my presents, eating all the holiday candy and cookies that people give us, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” waiting out in the car while The Wife picks out a Christmas tree at the Lions Club lot…
Anyway, somewhere in the top 10 lies the Executive Committee Holiday Dinner. While I run the EC with an iron fist which no one pays any attention to, I leave the planning of the ECHD to Yellow. In part because everyone loves Yellow and does what she says, and in part because I hate calling places and making reservations.
We checked with Fagan to see when he would be in town since he’s the only out-of-towner. On December 3, Yellow called us to meet on Facebook and discuss this year’s event. We did it there mainly to shun Erica who is “too good” to get on Facebook.
YELLOW: What does everyone think about this?
Time: 6 to ???pm
Date: Thu., Dec. 30
Place: Hot Shots in St. Charles
MOD: We are not having the Executive Committee Holiday Dinner at Hot Shots. Show some class, Yellow. Hot Shots is fine for happy hours and farewell parties but not the ECHD. Does Hot Shots even have napkins?
TRENT: Llyellens is always fun. (Note: Every person in the discussion spelled Llywelyn’s differently. For the sake of my sanity, we will forthwith refer to it as The Pub.)
STEVIE: The Pub let’s you reserve tables downstairs for parties. It’s fun down there. They have shuffle board.
FAGAN: is there a pub in st. charles now? i always liked the ones in webster and soulard (Note: Fagan hates capital letters)
STEVIE: And they have chicken chili!
YELLOW: The Pub it is!
Having set a time and place, all we needed was to know how many people were coming. Last month we had inducted two new members to the EC — Stevie and Melfy — which brought the total membership to 11. Per tradition, maybe 5 would commit to attending.
TRENT: I’ll be there!
SPALDING: I’ll be there!
RACHIE: I’ll be there!
GABE: I’ll be there!
FAGAN: i’ll be there
MELFY: I’ll be there!
POKIN: (Note: Pokin never takes part in our meetings. But he always shows up at the events, so we counted him.)
YELLOW: Wow, it looks like everyone’s coming!
MOD: Well, we haven’t checked with Erica yet.
I fire off a note to Erica with the date and place.
ERICA: I’ll be there. Why wouldn’t I be there? I always come.
MOD: You didn’t two years ago.
MOD: I wrote a poem about it.
ERICA: Oh yeah. Way to hold a grudge, Sir.
So, the entire Executive Committee in one place at one time. This hasn’t happened since the ECHD of 2005 (Everyone attended in ’06, but some people were late and some left early and we weren’t all in the same place at the same time). This would be historic. And a little crowded.
RACHIE: Can I bring Jeff?
TRENT: I’m bringing Paul!
SPALDING: I’m bringing John!
MELFY: I’m bringing Greg!
STEVIE: I’m not bringing anyone!
Maybe more than a little crowded.
MOD: Spouses are welcome but they will have to sit at the children’s table with Pokin. (Note: I can pick on Pokin because I know he won’t respond).
So if we throw in Tim, who’s practically a member since he’s always with Yellow, the headcount is now at 16.
ERICA: I invited Cindy and Ritchie to join us. Is that OK?
MOD: Yes, Erica, that’s OK.
The Pub in St. Charles sits on Main Street in a building that used to be a bank. In fact, it was the bank we first used when we moved to St. Charles. They’ve modified it a bit to turn it into a restaurant. Yellow makes the arrangements but it turns out we can reserve the downstairs but they don’t serve food there — which defeats the purpose of this being a dinner.
YELLOW: We are now reserved for the “Vault” room, which is one of the really cool rehabbed rooms that used to be a bank vault. I guesstimated about 10 but said we might have more.
MOD: Ten? By my count we’ve got 18 coming, if they all show.
YELLOW: If there is more, we’ll just pull some more chairs around.
I’m thinking pulling eight extra chairs around a table is going to be more than cramped, but hey, it’s Yellow’s call.
The big night finally arrives. I walk into the pub at 10 past 6 to find that the vault is an odd, L-shaped room with one long table and 10 chairs. Already in attendance are Yellow, Tim, Fagan, Erica and Gabe. Pulling eight extra chairs around a table is going to be more than cramped — it’s going to be impossible. But hey, I’ve got my chair. Fortune favors those who are not too fashionably late.
Pokin arrives, followed by the Peines. There’s one chair left.
YELLOW: Ohmigosh, what do we do? I’ll go talk to the someone and see what we can do. You’re not going to let me run this show anymore, are you?
MOD: We’ll see.
Spaulding and her husband are next to arrive and we only have room for one of them. This is especially tricky since it’s always a challenge to get Spalding to attend things and now that she finally has, she’s being shifted to the annex — if we can get one.
ERICA: Sir is freaking out. Don’t freak out, Sir. It will be fine.
YELLOW: We’re able to get a table just outside the vault. All is well.
Spalding, John, Tim, Stevie, Melfy and Greg sit at the annex table, Cindy finishes out the vault room, it appears that truly all is well.
MOD: Waitaminnut. We forgot Trent and Paul. Where are they?
YELLOW: She just texted me, she’s in the parking lot.
MOD: We’ve only got room for one.
TRENT: I’m here!
YELLOW: Where’s Paul?
TRENT: He couldn’t make it.
MOD: We’re Saved!
Eventually we order our food (and drinks, many drinks) and all was well.